Author: Claire LeGrand
Number of Pages: 464 in Hardcover
Published: September 30th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Retellings, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
“The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.
New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.
Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.
Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.
Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.”
A review of this, at long last. The cover is so gorgeous. Who would have resist not reading it? Especially if you know your fairy tales well. Do I know? No. I don’t. As for me, I still haven’t Google what The Nutcracker is all about after reading the book. Wondering if the fairy tale is somehow like it or not. Others confirmed that it is loosely based on it. I think the statue is just the mere thing that connects it with the fairy tale, but then again I learned that the prince on the book is not trapped to a Nutcracker as per the fairy tale and as per the reviews I’ve read before reading this so that didn’t compute.
The writing drags. Presentation of characters and world building is too elaborate that a three-year old kid would have understand it. Too many details slow the book down hugely. I got bored on the first half of the book. I got the part where at the beginning, it is like introducing stuff so readers would relate to it, but it was too much to my liking. It continued for several more chapters after the beginning. Sigh. I must admit, the world building is beautifully done though. You could actually imagine Cane as real as the descriptions on the book. I would have to give it to Claire. I eventually catch up on the story after a lot of chapters (clatters) and enjoyed the latter part of the book. That’s a bit sad. I truly wanted to love this. On a lighter note, the plot is great. I like how the story is crafted. It takes a brilliant author to come up with this kind of story. Dark, mystifying and twisted. It’s also magical, morbid and sensual at the same time. There are things that made me cringe for it’s too gruesome, but I know that it made it really convincing. I also think that this should fall under New Adult. It includes things not really appropriate for kids, if you know what I mean. LOL. You need to read it for yourself though, I won’t give you spoilers. 😀
Let’s get to the characters. I can’t believe how Clara’s character developed from a meek and weak girl to a fierce, bad ass and brave lady. I actually like her. She committed mistakes and really learned from them. Loves her family and Holy Hades, the determination and sacrifices she made for them is remarkable. There are just some instances that I didn’t understand her and can’t figure out what she’s thinking. Prince Nicholas on the other hand is that one character that’s not really presented. He’s just a lonely guy that’s torn between his love for Clara and reclaiming the throne. That’s it. Who I did love is Godfather. His devotion alone made me teary-eyed. Especially when his life is somehow presented on a flash back or when Nicholas told Clara his story. That’s a tearjerker right there. Then, there was Anise, the queen. She’s also a lonely woman that I couldn’t figure out. Somehow, I understand her and her reasons why she’s doing the things she’s doing, but later on.. I’m lost. She’s such plain evil. End of story.
I still recommend this in spite of my issues with it. I enjoyed the book though I didn’t really love it as I expected and take note, I really think this should fall under New Adult. You’ve been warned 😀
Can’t really decide how to rate this. I’m torn between giving it a three star and a four, but then the boring parts really weighed in so there..